Ever heard of Cameron Bancroft and Andrew Fekete?
Or even try searching Steve O’ Keefe on Google.
The above three are virtually unknown names in Australia’s 15-man touring party which will play Bangladesh in a two-Test series starting from October 9 (in Chittagong).
The tour will be Steve Smith’s first ever as Australia skipper post Michael Clarke’s retirement in August.
Agreed that the 3-2 Ashes loss in England did bring the Aussies crashing down to earth, but is Bangladesh really counting their chickens before they hatch?
The fact that Australia will miss Clarke along with other retired stars like Brad Haddin, Chris Rogers and Shane Watson only makes the Bangladesh sojourn all the more challenging.
Despite talks centering on Bangladesh being poised to record a huge upset at home, are the Aussies as weak as they are being made out to be?
Not to forget that a batting line-up with Smith, Adam Voges, Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell can blow away Bangladesh any day.
Even the pace department consisting of Peter Siddle, Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins should cause Bangladesh problems aplenty.
Add Nathan Lyon’s canny off-spin to the mix and the Aussies do have a real chance of tearing apart the form book and turn the tables on the home team.
Though wins over Pakistan, India and South Africa in ODI series at home have been spectacular, yet the fact remains Bangladesh have come up short in the longer format of the sport.
If the Test series against Pakistan ended in a 1-0 loss, Rahim’s Bangladesh could not impress even against India and South Africa which ended in dull draws.
Keeping their World Cup and home ODI exploits aside, Bangladesh are definitely not a force when it comes to Tests and a win against the Aussies will definitely not be a given.
The batsmen have crumbled against spin in all three mentioned series’ with 36 wickets falling to opposition spinners in those three games.
That above statistic is definitely a red alert considering the fact that Australia has three of their own in Lyon, Maxwell and Keefe.
Bangladesh has surprisingly been found wanting when it comes to facing spin on slow and low tracks.
The surprising fact is that of their own spinners not having made a telling impact which raises doubts of their ability to shin in home conditions.
Apart from Shakib Al Hasan’s four-wicket haul against India at Fatullah, the rest have been mediocre to say the least.
The batting looks fragile and the pacers (keeping aside 20 year old Mustafizur Rahman who tormented South Africa at Chittagong) have been at best, lackluster.
Only twice have Bangladesh managed to take all ten wickets in an innings (against Pakistan and South Africa at Khulna and Chittagong) while on other occasions their bowlers have been far from impressive.
Even their highest batting score in those series’, at Khulna on a slow and low track, is definitely no marker for greatness.
Of course though Tamim Iqbal’s 206 (highest by a Bangladeshi batsman in Tests) and Imrul Kayes’ 150 did enthrall spectators during that epic 312-run first wicket stand, the question that arises is can they replicate that performance against the Aussies?
Apart from the Khulna run-fest, Rahim’s team has only crossed 300 once (at Chittagong) with none of their batsmen scoring a century in any of the three series’.
The Ashes humiliation is still fresh for Australia and they can be expected to come hard at Rahim’s Bangladesh to erase that pain.
Can Bangladesh win?
Not likely since Australia are definitely the favorites despite missing out on a horde of stars.
A look as to how Siddle had England hopping in Clarke’s farewell Test at the Oval and Bangladesh has every reason not to take Smith’s Australia lightly.
Lyon will be smacking his lips for he may just about prove to be Bangladesh’s nemesis in conditions suited for his style of bowling.
Even the two Mitchell’s and Cummins would be expected to cut loose in a bid to bury the ghosts of the Ashes loss.
So are Bangladesh finally coming of age in this Test series?
Not really, as recent records suggests and it will undoubtedly take a huge effort from Rahim’s team if they are to put it past Australia.
Of course Rahim will do well to ensure that his team does not count their chickens before they hatch as ODI success at home is definitely no guarantee to of winning against a team of Australia’s caliber in Tests.
No Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazelwood for the Aussies. Or even the explosive David Warner?
That should not be an issue as Bancroft, Fekete or O’ Keefe may just about be the most searched words on Google post this series!